There are grants, and then there are great grants.
Two Lycoming County nonprofit organizations were recently named the first-ever recipients of the First Community Foundation Partnership's "Great Grants," which are designed to have a major impact on organizations' programming and services.
The foundation, which dates to 1916 in the city, allocated $200,000 for the new program this year.
Jennifer D. Wilson, president and CEO, said Susquehanna Community Health and Dental Clinic Inc. and the Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will each get $100,000 through the grant program.
"They're two very different organizations, but they serve important needs in our community," Wilson said.
Funding for the health and dental clinic in the city's Hepburn Plaza will be used for patient educational materials, community awareness initiatives and updated equipment and technology to serve patients.
"This financial assistance will impact our patients and our staff in big ways," said Ellen M. Krajewski, president and CEO of the clinic. "It will enable us to improve the quality of care through the utilization of technological tools that promote the highest standards of care. Also, the financial support allows us to increase our patient communications and patient education, which will improve care management."
Victoria Stryker, executive director of the SPCA, said the grant will greatly enhance services at the shelter, especially as it relates to feline care and the spaying and neutering of animals.
She said the organization had a plan to expand the physical structure to provide more services. The grant covers about half the cost, Stryker said.
"Without the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania's Great Grant, we would not be able to proceed with our expansion project," she said. "Our board of directors and staff are dedicated to improved services for our community and with FCFP's generous grant we are partnering for success."
The SPCA grant will be used for a holding area for incoming felines for evaluation and sterilization. The room will also be used to allow cat owners to find their lost pets before they are adopted or euthanized, Stryker said.
"One of our biggest problems is keeping the cats long enough for owners to find them," she added.
In addition, the grant will be used for a multipurpose room for canine behavior evaluation, modification and training for owners. A future surgery room is also planned, according to Stryker.
"We can make sure every cat gets spayed or neutered," she said.
Wilson said the foundation's board of directors chose to give six-figure grants to support major capital needs, expand current programs or create new programming. Ten organizations applied for the Great Grants, she added.
"We definitely felt like we wanted to (grant) a larger dollar amount and make a difference with an organization," she said.